Open Source really has great potential: a blog paired with a national (international?) radio broadcast/podcast, in which the stories develop from comments posted by readers in response to ideas and issues raised on the blog.

To imagine that your ideas and personal voice have some degree of impact in a communal publication is a powerful driver. As a professional academic and teacher, I sometimes feel disconnected from the community in which I work, especially when my students are often from affluent, privileged families. How do I find a way to speak to the entire community about the subjects I study and teach about (in my case, media studies, rhetoric, and communication)?

Open Source could potentially be one place to contribute my voice in this way. However, I worry about what media scholar Chris Anderson once pointed out to me, which is that NPR and PBS tend to be consumed by affluent, educated, and often privileged audiences, but not the rest of the country. To the extent that this is true, it seems problematic to launch a concept like Open Source there, because it may not generate the kind of ground-level response upon which a much more significant movement for community-shared programs could be built. On the other hand, PRI and NPR have the resources to commit to such projects–like radio “early adopters”–that can help Open Source to develop a non-profit model that communities could copy.

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